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Showing posts from January 5, 2020

What Happens When You Tell Your Story and I Tell Mine?

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Sometimes, empathy isn't enough. New research reveals how taking and giving perspectives can help us to bridge our differences.

By Zaid Jilani


As a white man who grew up in Texas, John Howard Griffin was curious about the lives of African Americans who lived under America’s Jim Crow system in the late 1950s. So, he embarked on a bold experiment. He decided to darken his skin, live as a black man, and write a book informing his fellow white citizens about how it feels to be on the other side of the racial divide.

“How else except by becoming a Negro could a white man hope to learn the truth?” he wrote on the first page of the book, titled Black Like Me. “The Southern Negro will not tell the white man the truth. He long ago learned that if he speaks a truth unpleasing to the white, the white will make life miserable for him. The only way I could see to bridge the gap between us was to become a Negro.” Published in 1961, Black Like Me went on to sell 10 million copies all over the world…

Creating a Happy Society Is More Complicated Than We Think

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More countries are measuring happiness—but are they measuring the right things?

By Sam Wren-Lewis


Imagine two different societies. In the first, people tend to be stressed, tense, irritable, distracted, and self-absorbed. In the second, people tend to be at ease, untroubled, quick to laugh, expansive, and self-assured.

The difference between these two imagined scenarios is vast. You’re not only more likely to be happier in the second scenario—you’re also more likely to be safer, be healthier, and have better relationships. The difference between a happy and an unhappy society is not trivial. We know that happiness matters beyond our desire to feel good.

So how can we create a happy society? The Buddhist nation of Bhutan was the first society to determine policy based on the happiness of its citizens, with the king of Bhutan famously claiming in 1972 that gross national happiness (GNH) was a more important measure of progress than gross national product (GNP).

Many other countries have sinc…

Meet the Couple that Helped Save 10 Million Acres of Patagonia

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Thanks to the largest private donation of land in history, 10 million acres of land are now protected in Patagonia: one of the most beautiful places on Earth. So, who are these remarkable donors?

In the jaw-dropping landscape of Patagonia, over 10 million acres of land are now protected for generations to come! 1 Thanks to the largest donation of land to any country in history and a collaboration with the government of Chile, one of the world’s most incredible places will continue to inspire people around the globe! So, who are these donors and what drove them to begin protecting and conserving the wilds of Patagonia?

By Liesl Ulrich-Verderber


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This Disney Animator Brings Characters to Life in Virtual Reality!

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What if you could step into an entire world created by one of your favorite artists? Here’s a peek at what happens when you mix the wonder of virtual reality with the magic of a Disney animator!

What if you could explore a world created by your favorite artist? If you could walk through a city street painted by Van Gogh, a landscape by Leonardo da Vinci, or the fantastical vision of Salvadore Dali? Soon, we will able to take journeys into the minds of our favorite artists and animators as virtual reality allows them to take their art from two-dimensions to virtual 3D worlds!

By Liesl Ulrich-Verderber


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How Optimism May Keep You Alive Longer

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A new study suggests that optimism might be a secret to longevity.

By Kira M. Newman


You’ve probably heard a story or two about someone who lived past 100. Perhaps you have a wise-cracking great-grandfather. Or maybe you heard about that WWII veteran who ate ice cream and smoked cigars every day.

These stories tend to be both remarkable and slightly baffling. Sometimes, they defy our assumptions about what keeps people alive. What is their secret?

According to a new study, one secret to a long life might be wholly unrelated to what we eat or how much we exercise: our optimism.

Researchers examined long-term surveys of more than 69,000 women and 1,400 men. Both groups reported how optimistic they were: whether they expected good or bad things to happen to them in the future, and if they felt in control of important aspects of their life. The women averaged 70 years old and were followed for 10 years; the men averaged 62 years old and were followed for 30 years. Both groups were predominant…

Five Surprising Ways Exercise Changes Your Brain

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Moving your body is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your mind.

By Kelly McGonigal


We’ve all heard that exercise is good for us—how it strengthens our hearts and lungs, and helps us prevent diseases like diabetes. That’s why so many of us like to make New Year’s resolutions to move more, knowing it will make us healthier and live longer.

But many people don’t know about the other important benefits of exercise—how it can help us find happiness, hope, connection, and courage.

Around the world, people who are physically active are happier and more satisfied with their lives. They have a stronger sense of purpose and experience more gratitude, love, and hope. They feel more connected to their communities, and are less likely to suffer from loneliness or become depressed.

These benefits are seen throughout the lifespan, including among those living with serious mental and physical health challenges. That’s true whether their preferred activity is walking, running, swimming, dan…

On the Hunt with Italy’s Truffle Dogs!

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Hidden beneath the ground lie treasures with a hefty price tag that can only be uncovered by a certain few. So, let’s head off on a truffle hunt to discover the secrets of this delicacy…

Tucked beneath layers of dirt, hidden from the world, lives a delicacy sought out by chefs and diners alike around the globe. But finding this delicious, rather pungent-smelling fungi, isn’t an easy task. It requires a special skillset—one that can be found in one of our favorite four-legged friends!

By Sam Burns


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The Reason I Jump: A Book by a 13-Year-Old Boy with Autism

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"The thirteen-year-old author of this book invites you, his reader, to imagine a daily life in which your faculty of speech is taken away. Explaining that you're hungry, or tired, or in pain, is now as beyond your powers as a chat with a friend. I'd like to push the thought-experiment a little further. Now imagine that after you lose your ability to communicate, the editor-in-residence who orders your thoughts walks out without notice. The chances are that you never knew this mind-editor existed, but now that he or she has gone, you realize too late how the editor allowed your mind to function for all these years. A dam-burst of ideas, memories, impulses and thoughts is cascading over you, unstoppably. Your editor controlled this flow, diverting the vast majority away, and recommending just a tiny number for your conscious consideration. But now you're on your own. Now your mind is a room where twenty radios, all tuned to different stations, are blaring …

Erich Fromm's Six Rules of Listening

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"Listening, Erich Fromm argues, is 'is an art like the understanding of poetry' and, like any art, has its own rules and norms. Drawing on his half-century practice as a therapist, Fromm offers six such guidelines for mastering the art of unselfish understanding.


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One Love

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At five minutes to midnight on June 14, 2018, about 800 people waited to enter Jerusalem's Tower of David Museum. Jews, Muslims and Christians, young and old, most of them strangers to one another, they were forgoing a night's sleep for the chance to sing Bob Marley's "One Love" in three languages and three-part harmony as a show of unity from Israel.


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Why Singing in a Choir Makes You Happier

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"In Stacy Horn's wonderful book, 'Imperfect Harmony: Finding Happiness While Singing with Others,' we get a first-hand account of how music uplifts and empowers, with various scientific evidence cited. Horn has been singing with The Choral Society of Grace Church (in New York City's Greenwich Village) since 1982; she evocatively describes her own experience while explaining how science is finally catching up with what vocalists have known since the dawn of time: singing heals."


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Reflection

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Brandur Patursson is an artist from the Faroe Islands who works with light in the creation of his glass and metal sculptures. After losing 70% of the sight in one eye he started understanding what it is to really see. He realized that we see with our eyes, but how we perceive things is what truly gives them meaning in our lives. If we can literally see and reflect on someone's else's feelings instead of their effect on us, he suggests that we could be more tolerant. This short film is itself a mesmerizing reflection on how opening our eyes to who and what is around us allows us to be moved.


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What if Mass Media was Used for Good?

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There’s more power in positive media than just making us feel good! Sharing stories that celebrate progress around the world has the ability to change lives. Check out this collective of creators redefining the way we tell the stories about some of our world’s biggest issues, and the people working to alleviate them.

If a photograph is worth a thousand words, what positive change could we grow if we used that media for good? Ripple Effect Images has been harnessing the power of media and storytelling for almost a decade to support organizations making a big difference in the lives of impoverished women and children around the globe.

By Sam Burns


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In Search of the Man Who Broke My Neck

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When Joshua Prager was 19, a devastating bus accident left him a hemiplegic. He returned to Israel twenty years later to find the driver who turned his world upside down. In this mesmerizing tale of their meeting, Prager probes deep questions of nature, nurture, self-deception and identity.


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